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The Media Mirror - Today's Russian press review

The turmoil in Georgia and Russia’s parliamentary elections in December feature in this weekend’s editions, as does Vladimir Zhirinovski, the international affairs guru.

ITOGI weekly counts 3 weeks to the election. : “I don’t watch TV all that much but what I have seen of the television debates of the candidates was monotonous and dull,” the Head of the Central Electoral Commission Vladimir Churov said in his weekly interview. He added that probably the lack of TV anchors capable of moderating such events was a factor.

The same publication’s picture of the week takes us to Georgia, Tbilisi on November 8. Democracy there is indeed in an interesting condition, as the headline says.

An article describing the biggest story of the week says the future of Georgia from now on depends not on the maneuvers of Mikhail Saakashvili, but on the package deal between Russia and the U.S. The opposition, says the article, has won a moral victory in the streets of Tbilisi. But it is very likely to lose the election.

“Russia has one priority in connection with Georgia: we don’t want Tbilisi to unleash a regional war in the Caucasus. If Saakashvili who is now plainly hysterical, is replaced by someone as pro-American, that would be in Russia’s interest. We don’t need them to love us. We need them to abstain from rash military moves in Abkhazia and Southern Osetia,” Gleb Pavlovski, political analyst, commented.

“Russia’s policy in the post-Soviet space is too passive. We don’t have to make any drastic steps. Just provide our American partners with a thorough file on Saakashvili’s involvement in the murder of Zurab Zhvania, on the criminalisation of the Georgian government system, on human rights. That would be Saakashvili’s immediate political death. Markov continues: the Russian business elite counts money by the billions but political victories are won by men and women not dollars,” Sergey Markov from the Institute of Political Research, underlined.

PROFILE chief editor Mikhail Leontiev writes: Georgia is controlled from Washington. The U.S. ambassador is the resident manager.

Saakashvili has disappointed his masters. Now, whether he wins the election or not, he is basically a political corpse.

Leader of the Liberal Democratic party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovski gave an interview for NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA daily. “America needs Georgia for its future air raids on Iran and for control over Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Middle East. Washington invested a lot of money in that republic,” said Zhirinovski.